Today you’re getting a list of the best CBD creams that you can currently buy.
This roundup is the result of testing 20+ samples.
Testing included measuring effects on exercise-induced:
- joint pain, and,
- muscle pain.
While these products may be helpful for relieving other types of pain…
We only tested the pain-relief potential for exercise-induced joint- and muscle pain.
Products on this list, all had an actual noticeable effect.
All effective products got rated on:
- Cannabinoid- and terpene-profiles;
- Ingredients (whether they’re natural and whether other anti-inflammatory compounds are present);
- Transparency of the brand on hemp source, extraction processes, and third-party lab-test reports;
- Price, CBD you get per dollar, and;
- The latest scientific discoveries on the effectiveness of topical CBD products.
Table of Contents
- #1 Receptra Naturals Serious Relief Targeted Topical (Best Full-Spectrum CBD Cream)
- #2 R+R Medicinals Hemp-Extract-Infused Cream (Best Value CBD Cream)
- #3 Charlotte’s Web Hemp-Infused Cream (Great Value Cream)
- #4 CBDfx CBD Cream For Muscle & Joint: Cooling Formula (Best Customer-Rated)
- #5 cbdMD CBD Recover Pain Relieving Formula (Best THC-Free)
- #6 CBDistillery CBDol Topical – CBD Salve (Best THC-Rich Cream)
- #7 Populum Cold Therapy Hemp Rub (Honorable Mention)
Comparison of the Best CBD Creams
|Minor cannabinoids + terpenes/$||19.5mg||3.5mg||0mg||0.5mg||0mg||0.5mg||0mg|
|Cannabinoid-profileThe number of different cannabinoids present, and in what concentrations.:|
|Terpene-profileThe number of different terpenes present, and in what concentrations:|
|TransparencyBacked by 3rd-party lab-test reports? Transparent about where hemp is sourced?:|
|ValueHow many CBD + minor cannabinoids and terpenes you get per dollar:|
|Read Review||Receptra Naturals||R+R Medicinals||Charlotte’s Web||CBDfx||cbdMD||CBDistillery||Populum|
1. Receptra Naturals Serious Relief + Arnica Targeted Topical (Best Full-Spectrum CBD Cream)
Most ‘full-spectrum’ and ‘broad-spectrum’ topical CBD products don’t live up to their name. When you check the test reports of these so-called ‘full-spectrum’ products…
You’ll see that they barely have any other cannabinoids than CBD.
Although they may have trace elements of other cannabinoids, we want more than that. When it comes to full- and broad-spectrum CBD products, you want higher levels than ‘trace elements’.
Receptra Naturals products always have high levels of minor cannabinoids and terpenes. This Serious Relief Topical has very high levels of minor cannabinoids and terpenes compared to other creams.
With a full-spectrum-ratio of 1.87, for every 1mg of CBD, you almost get 2mg of other cannabinoids and terpenes.
This cream has an especially high concentration of terpenes. For every 1mg of CBD, you get 1.7mg of terpenes.
Here’s why this is so amazing:
Many terpenes are associated with anti-inflammatory effects.
Terpenes not only have anti-inflammatory effects in and of themselves…
But terpenes may act synergistically to CBD’s anti-inflammatory effects as well.
Most topical CBD creams are boosted with other non-hemp anti-inflammatory compounds. But it’s unlikely that these non-hemp compounds like white willow bark make CBD more effective.
To improve CBD’s anti-inflammatory effects, you want extra compounds that come from the same plant as your CBD:
- Terpenes like limonene and linalool, and
- Cannabinoids like THC and CBC.
For best effects, you want more anti-inflammatory compounds that work together with CBD.
Otherwise, why get a CBD product? You might as well get any type of pain-relieving cream to relieve your pain.
This cream has an amazing foundation of cannabinoids and terpenes. But it’s fortified with more anti-inflammatory compounds:
- Ylang-ylang, and;
All these compounds have with anti-inflammatory effects.
This is one of the more expensive options when we look at how much CBD you get per dollar. But when we look at how much other anti-inflammatory compounds you get per dollar, it’s the most affordable option on the list.
This is the best cannabinoid- and terpene-rich cream that you can get.
- Receptra Naturals 15% off coupon code: Herbonaut
2. R+R Medicinals Hemp-Extract Infused Cream (Best Value CBD Cream)
R+R Medicinals is, without a doubt our best value-for-money CBD brand. All their products are truly full-spectrum. They contain a wide spectrum of hemp-derived cannabinoids and terpenes…
And this cream is no different.
This and the Receptra Naturals cream, are the only two topicals on the list that truly classify as ‘full-spectrum’.
Receptra Naturals’ full-spectrum cream is a bit more expensive than the average.
But R+R Medicinals is full-spectrum AND even more affordable than the other options on the list.
From a CBD per dollar perspective, this is the most affordable option on our list. If you get this cream, a single dollar gets you 23.74mg of topically active CBD.
Plus you get all the other cannabinoids and terpenes that make CBD more effective.
PLUS you get other anti-inflammatory compounds like:
- Arnica Montana, and
- Calendula Flower,
This cream is more affordable than the average AND more effective than the average.
It’s an amazing cocktail of compounds that have a big chance of relieving inflammation and pain.
3. Charlotte’s Web Hemp-Infused Cream with CBD (Great Value Cream)
Charlotte’s Web is one of the few CBD brands that’s fully vertically integrated. They control every part of the production process.
From the moment they plant the hemp seed to the final formulation of their products…
Charlotte’s Web tests their products up to 20 times before they reach you.
Their topicals are no different in that regard. It’s made from the same hemp that their well-respected CBD oil is made from.
This means, in theory, that you’re getting a true full-spectrum cream with Charlotte’s Web.
But looking at the lab-test reports we can only see trace elements of other cannabinoids than CBD. And we can’t see any terpenes (that might be because they don’t test for that).
So whether this product is truly full-spectrum is up for debate.
Looking at how much CBD you get per dollar (20mg), this is another amazing value for money option.
Also, if you’re looking for a THC-free cream, according to the lab-test report, this cream doesn’t have any THC. Keep in mind that it does get advertised as a full-spectrum product. So there’s some discrepancy there.
Like all the options on the list, this one is boosted with more non-hemp anti-inflammatory and skin-soothing compounds:
- Aloe Vera;
- Oat extract, and;
- Sea buckthorn oil.
Also, Charlotte’s Web ensures that this cream is:
- free of 8 major allergens,
- was designed and manufactured without animal testing,
You would think that such a high-quality cream is expensive…
But this couldn’t be further from the truth.
With 750mg of hemp extract for $35 with our coupon code, this is one of the most affordable options on the list.
Click the link below to go to Charlotte’s Web website:
- Charlotte’s Web 15% off coupon code: HERBONAUT
4. CBDfx CBD Cream For Muscle & Joint: Cooling Formula 1000mg (Best Customer-Rated)
When it comes to CBD products, we consistently rank CBDfx products in our top 10 lists.
- They sell some of the best customer-rated CBD products that you can find. Their topical CBD products have thousands of reviews with an average rating of 4.6/5 stars.
- They test each product on toxins, contaminants, and cannabinoid-content by third-party laboratories.
- Their products contain organic ingredients for the most part.
Most of their topical products only contain trace elements of other cannabinoids and terpenes. Still, it’s better than having none at all.
And with 20mg of CBD per dollar, this is another great value for money THC-free option.
CBDfx cream doesn’t contain other beneficial cannabinoids at such high levels as Receptra Naturals or R+R Medicinals…
There it might be less effective than those.
But the trace elements of other cannabinoids make it more effective than CBD isolate creams.
Besides hemp-derived compounds, CBDfx cream contains two other proven natural pain-reducing compounds:
- Caffeine, and;
- White willow bark.
This is the only option on the list that contains a small amount of caffeine to stimulate your blood flow.
The bottom line:
CBDfx cream has CBD and other pain-reducing compounds. It has great customer ratings.
Although not as effective as full-spectrum creams, it’s more effective than the average.
Plus, it has some of the best customer ratings of all CBD topicals we’ve ever reviewed.
Click the link below to go to the CBDfx website:
5. cbdMD CBD Recover Pain Relieving Formula 1500mg (Best THC-Free)
As you know already: When it comes to CBD products, we highly value ‘full-spectrum’ CBD products. But full-spectrum CBD products always contain a certain level of THC (always less than 0.3%).
If you don’t want ANY THC in your product, full-spectrum topicals are off the table.
What are some reasons on why you would want to avoid THC?
Well, for example:
- You could be subjected to regular drug tests, and these always test for THC;
- You could be on medication that interferes with the metabolization of THC, making a small amount of THC much more potent than it usually is.
If you want to avoid THC, I highly recommend getting this cream from cbdMD. While some creams on the list don’t have THC on paper, with cbdMD you know with 100% certainty that all their products are THC-free. cbdMD is a 100% THC-free CBD company.
Although this cream doesn’t have THC, it does have trace elements of other cannabinoids.
Although not as potent as a true full-spectrum topical, it’s more potent than a CBD-only topical.
In addition to CBD, this cream contains additional natural pain-relieving compounds like:
- Histamine dihydrochloride;
- Arnica Montana;
- Vitamin B6, and;
- Aloe vera.
The bottom line:
If you’re looking for a THC-free option, this is your best option.
Click the link below to go to cbdMD’s website:
6. CBDistillery CBDol Topical – CBD Salve – 500mg (Best THC-Rich Cream)
CBDistillery is an old-timer in the CBD industry. They have been around for many years, even before hemp was legalized on a federal level.
While their CBD tinctures are good value for money, their topical salve costs more than the other options on the list.
A single dollar only gets 10mg of CBD.
But if you want a significant concentration of THC inside your cream, then this is your best option.
Most CBD topicals don’t contain more than 0.05 THC. this product has 0.13% THC. That’s 0.03% higher than the next best THC-rich CBD cream (Receptra Naturals cream has 0.1%).
A lot of CBD companies pride themselves in having THC-free products. But THC is actually a highly beneficial compound for inflammatory skin disorders.
THC has anti-inflammatory effects when topically applied to the skin (9).
And this topical CBD salve contains the most THC of all topical products we have reviewed.
With this cream, you also get trace elements of other cannabinoids and terpenes…
Plus you get a wide variety of non-hemp compounds with various benefits when topically applied.
- Essential oils (including lavender, peppermint, and eucalyptus), and;
- Botanical extracts (rosemary, chamomile, and white willow);
This CBD salve probably has the widest variety of topically active, beneficial compounds.
But what makes CBDistillery’s offer truly unique is the following:
- A 60-day satisfaction guarantee.
Yes, you’ve read that right. You can try this CBD salve for 60 days before you even decide it’s worth the money.
You couldn’t find a more risk-free purchase when it comes to CBD products.
Click the link below to go CBDistillery’s website:
7. Populum Cold Therapy Hemp Rub (Honorable Mention)
While this is the most expensive option on the list…
Populum CBD cream deserves a spot. Why? Because we had good results with it compared to some other creams that didn’t make it.
This may relate to a high concentration of non-CBD anti-inflammatory compounds inside this cream.
This cream contains some CBD and:
- Chamomile, and;
- Aloe vera.
It could be that this cream has very high concentrations of these non-hemp compounds. And that’s why it’s relatively effective in relieving localized pain. Because its cannabinoid-concentration is very low.
It does get advertised as a broad-spectrum cream. But when we look at the lab-test reports, we only see CBD present.
Even with all these downsides, it deserves a spot on our list because our test results were good with it.
Click the link below to go Populum’s website:
What Science Can Tell Us About the Effectiveness of CBD Topicals
- Evidence shows that topically applied CBD can help reduce pain and has anti-inflammatory effects (1).
- CBD is more effective when taken together with other hemp-derived compounds (2, 3, 4);
- Studies show that besides CBD, a few other hemp-derived cannabinoids have anti-inflammatory effects when topically applied as well (THC, CBN) (1);
- Studies show that hemp-derived terpenes can have beneficial effects when topically applied (5);
- Many natural non-hemp compounds like Aloe Vera can be applied topically for beneficial effects (6, 7, 8). These can be combined with CBD for even more beneficial effects.
A high-quality CBD topical should contain:
- a wide spectrum of hemp-derived cannabinoids and terpenes,
- plus additional anti-inflammatory compounds.
The average stats of our reviewed topical products:
- CBD per dollar: 14.53mg;
- Minor cannabinoids + terpenes per dollar: 3.48mg.
Topical CBD Products vs CBD Oil and Other Edible Forms of CBD
The main benefits of using a CBD cream vs a CBD oil are:
- You can really target localized ‘inflamed’ or ‘pain-heavy’ areas.
- It can produce the same effects in these localized areas, with less CBD, lower blood concentrations, and with fewer side effects.
The downsides of CBD cream vs CBD oil are:
- CBD creams have a less wide range of potential uses. They can only be used for inflammation- and pain-related conditions. You can use edible forms of CBD for its anti-anxiety and sleep-improving effects as well.
- There’s more scientific proof supporting the benefits of edible forms of CBD.
How to Use CBD Cream
Never eat CBD cream.
All CBD creams, lotions, balms, and gels are only suited to be used topically.
In general, follow the manufacturer’s recommendations.
Potential Benefits of CBD Cream
Topically applied CBD may help reduce pain and has anti-inflammatory properties.
In one animal study, topically applied CBD reduced inflammation and pain-related behaviors in a rat model of arthritis (10).
A different study found that topical application of CBD improved inflammatory skin disorders. Disorders like encephalomyelitis (EAE) and Multiple Sclerosis (MS) (1).
This same study found that topical application of CBD can have anti-inflammatory effects in patients with acne scars.
In general, CBD is associated with a variety of potential benefits. But the ones that seem most relevant to CBD creams, gels, and lotions are its anti-inflammatory and pain-reducing effects.
If you want to learn more about how CBD interacts with various receptors that are related to pain, read:
Is CBD Cream Legal?
Hemp-derived CBD products are legal on a federal level in the U.S. That means the product contains less than 0.3% THC.
Whether CBD products are legal in your state differs per state, but in most states, CBD products are legal on a federal level.
Learn More More About CBD
The Best CBD Oils: A list of our most recommended CBD oil brands, includes full-spectrum CBD oils, broad-spectrum CBD oils, and CBD isolates. All are 3th-party lab-tested to confirm they’re contaminant-free and contain high levels of CBD.
The Best CBD Gummies: A list of our recommended CBD gummies. All are 3th-party lab-tested to confirm they’re contaminant-free and contain high levels of CBD.
The Best CBD Vape Oils: A list of our recommended CBD vape oils. All are 3th-party lab-tested to confirm they’re contaminant-free and contain high levels of CBD.
The Benefits of CBD Oil: A review of over 100 studies that found potential health benefits associated with CBD.
CBD Oil and Anxiety: A review of studies that looked at CBD’s mechanism of action in relation to its anxiety-reducing effects. The article includes studies that looked at the effects of CBD on anxiety in humans.
CBD Oil and Pain: A review of studies that looked at CBD’s mechanism of action in relation to its pain-reducing effects. The article includes studies that looked at the effects of CBD on pain in humans.
CBD and Terpenes: An exploration of the relationship between CBD and terpenes.
CBD Isolate vs Full-Spectrum: A deep-dive into the different types of CBD products. CBD isolate, broad-spectrum, and full-spectrum. Including their pros and cons for you as a CBD products consumer.
- Palmieri, B., Laurino, C., & Vadalà, M. (2019). A therapeutic effect of cbd-enriched ointment in inflammatory skin diseases and cutaneous scars. La Clinica terapeutica, 170(2), e93–e99. https://doi.org/10.7417/CT.2019.2116
- Pamplona, F. A., da Silva, L. R., & Coan, A. C. (2018). Potential Clinical Benefits of CBD-Rich Cannabis Extracts Over Purified CBD in Treatment-Resistant Epilepsy: Observational Data Meta-analysis. Frontiers in neurology, 9, 759. https://doi.org/10.3389/fneur.2018.00759
McPartland, J. M., & Russo, E. B. (2001). Cannabis and Cannabis Extracts. Journal of Cannabis Therapeutics, 1(3–4), 103–132. https://doi.org/10.1300/j175v01n03_08
Russo, E. B. (2011). Taming THC: potential cannabis synergy and phytocannabinoid-terpenoid entourage effects. British Journal of Pharmacology, 163(7), 1344–1364. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1476-5381.2011.01238.x
Petrović, J., Stojković, D., & Soković, M. (2019). Terpene core in selected aromatic and edible plants: Natural health improving agents. Advances in Food and Nutrition Research, 423–451. https://doi.org/10.1016/bs.afnr.2019.02.009
Higashi, Y., Kiuchi, T., & Furuta, K. (2010). Efficacy and safety profile of a topical methyl salicylate and menthol patch in adult patients with mild to moderate muscle strain: A randomized, double-blind, parallel-group, placebo-controlled, multicenter study. Clinical Therapeutics, 32(1), 34–43. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.clinthera.2010.01.016
Eshghi, F., Hosseinimehr, S. J., Rahmani, N., Khademloo, M., Norozi, M. S., & Hojati, O. (2010). Effects of Aloe vera Cream on Posthemorrhoidectomy Pain and Wound Healing: Results of a Randomized, Blind, Placebo-Control Study. The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 16(6), 647–650. https://doi.org/10.1089/acm.2009.0428
Bost, J., Maroon, A., & Maroon, J. (2010). Natural anti-inflammatory agents for pain relief. Surgical Neurology International, 1(1), 80. https://doi.org/10.4103/2152-7806.73804
- Kakkar, V., Kaur, I. P., Kaur, A. P., Saini, K., & Singh, K. K. (2018). Topical delivery of tetrahydrocurcumin lipid nanoparticles effectively inhibits skin inflammation: in vitro and in vivo study. Drug Development and Industrial Pharmacy, 44(10), 1701–1712. https://doi.org/10.1080/03639045.2018.1492607
- Hammell, D. C., Zhang, L. P., Ma, F., Abshire, S. M., McIlwrath, S. L., Stinchcomb, A. L., & Westlund, K. N. (2015). Transdermal cannabidiol reduces inflammation and pain-related behaviours in a rat model of arthritis. European Journal of Pain, 20(6), 936–948. https://doi.org/10.1002/ejp.818